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Researchers identify a novel double-stranded DNA structure

August 6, 2012 5:47 am | News | Comments

Addressing a scientific debate that had lasted for 16 years over the existence of a certain type of double-stranded DNA structure called S-DNA, researchers in Singapore were able to create the structure by stretching conventional double-stranded DNA beyond a certain transition force. The debate centered over whether the new structure was merely a melting transition for a full-fledge form.

How the cell swallows

August 3, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany have recently combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3D movie of how cells “swallow” nutrients and other molecules by bending its membrane inwards and engulfing them.

Researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules

August 3, 2012 8:09 am | News | Comments

Existing technologies allow researchers to measure single molecules on the x and y axes of a 2D plane. By blending optical and atomic force microscope technologies, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have now found a way to complete 3D nanoscale measurements of single biological molecules with unprecedented accuracy and precision.

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Fish-eye view could offer insights for human vision

August 3, 2012 5:23 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner | News | Comments

Zeran Li, as an undergraduate student in biological sciences at Purdue University, led a research team that uncovered an enzyme's role in the regulation of eye size in the fish. If the enzyme's role is similar in human eyes, it could be relevant to human vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Dealing with massive data from miniscule communities

August 2, 2012 5:32 am | News | Comments

It’s relatively easy to collect massive amounts of data on microbes. But the files are so large that it takes days to simply transmit them to other researchers and months to analyze once they are received. Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new computational technique that relieves the logjam that these “big data” issues create.

In fly DNA, the footprint of a fly virus

August 2, 2012 5:10 am | News | Comments

In a curious evolutionary twist, biologists from the University of Buffalo report, several species of a commonly studied fruit fly appear to have incorporated genetic material from a virus into their genomes. This discovery of virus-like genes in the DNA of a commonly studied fruit fly could enable research on whether animals hijack viral genes as an anti-viral defense.

High-tech silver dressings ward off infection in wounds

August 1, 2012 11:51 am | News | Comments

Pioneered by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and applied onto the business end of artificial skin, nanofilms that release antibacterial silver over time have recently shown they can eradicate bacteria in full-thickness skin wounds in mice.

Tumor cells change when put into a “tight spot”

August 1, 2012 11:45 am | by Allison Chambliss, Johns Hopkins University | News | Comments

Surprisingly, 90% of cancer deaths are caused from metastasis,the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to other parts of the body, not from the primary tumor alone. To better understand what happens to cells affected by this process, Johns Hopkins University researchers have fabricated a microfluidic-based cell migration chamber that has already yielded surprising results.

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Liquid-filled fiber optics boosts chemiluminescence research

August 1, 2012 4:34 am | News | Comments

Processing biological samples on a small substrate the size of a computer chip is becoming a common task for biotechnology applications. Given the small working area, however, probing samples on the substrate with light can be difficult. Researchers in Singapore have now developed an optical fiber system that is able to deliver light to microfluidic chips with high efficiency.

Tissue engineering tool creates flesh on a large scale

August 1, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

Imagine a machine that makes layered, substantial patches of engineered tissue. Sounds like science fiction? According to researchers at the University of Toronto, it's a growing possibility. They have invented a method that incorporates cells onto a mosaic hydrogel that offers the perfect conditions for growth.

23andMe seeks FDA approval for personal DNA test

August 1, 2012 3:24 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

For years, the Silicon Valley company has resisted government regulation, arguing that it simply provides consumers with information, not a medical service. Genetic test maker 23andMe, however, is now asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its personalized DNA test in a move that, if successful, could boost acceptance of technology that is viewed skeptically by leading scientists who question its usefulness.

New coating evicts biofilms for good

July 31, 2012 8:19 am | News | Comments

Biofilms stick to just about everything, from copper pipes to steel ship hulls to glass catheters, and can be both a nuisance and a health threat. A team of Harvard University scientists has developed a slick 99%-effective way to prevent the troublesome bacterial communities from ever forming on a surface.

Assay Depot partners with AstraZeneca to launch virtual research laboratory

July 31, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, a new private virtual laboratory product, Research Exchange, has been launched by Assay Depot. The cloud-based “laboratory” enables researchers to search for research services and vendors, communicate with experts, purchase services, and rate and review services through a single interface. 

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“Diving board” sensors engineered to detect DNA

July 30, 2012 4:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.

Celebrated molecular biology lab manual updated, expanded

July 30, 2012 3:56 am | News | Comments

Molecular Cloning has served as the foundation of technical expertise in labs worldwide for 30 years. No other manual has been so popular, or so influential. For the fourth edition of this classic work, the content has been entirely recast to include nucleic-acid based methods selected as the most widely used and valuable in molecular and cellular biology laboratories.

R & D 100 Winners Seek Success with Partners

July 27, 2012 8:43 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

R&D laboratories take on challenges of terrorism, energy, and communications in the new millennium.

Wyss Institute aims to mimic whole human body with organ-on-chip

July 27, 2012 7:35 am | News | Comments

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University this week reported that it will receive up to $37 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body. The aim is to simulate the entire body’s physiology.

DNA could be future component of electronics

July 26, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Germany have developed a new strategy for the controlled production and metallization of DNA nanostructures. The team used a DNA strand consisting of an immobilization sequence and a metallization sequence and strung several alternating sequences together. Such a construction could someday be used in electronics.

Insights into protein folding may lead to better flu vaccine

July 26, 2012 3:36 am | by Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell University | News | Comments

A new method for looking at how proteins fold inside mammal cells is allowing researchers to take snapshots of the cell's protein-making machinery—called ribosomes—in various stages of protein production. The scientists can then piece together the snapshots to reconstruct how proteins fold during their synthesis. The findings could one day lead to better flu vaccines, the researchers say.

Supercomputer simulates cartilage in human knee joints

July 25, 2012 7:16 am | News | Comments

A Cleveland Clinic research team is developing virtual models of human knee joints to better understand how tissues and their individual cells react to heavy loads—virtual models that someday can be used to understand damage mechanisms caused by the aging process or debilitating diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

Computational method simplifies gene selection for drug development

July 24, 2012 5:58 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new computational method that will make it easier for scientists to identify and prioritize genes, drug targets, and strategies for repositioning drugs that are already on the market. By mining large datasets more simply and efficiently, researchers will be able to better understand genomic and proteomics interactions, as well as identify fellow researchers with whom they can collaborate.

Study: Strobe eyewear training improves visual memory

July 24, 2012 3:44 am | by Julie Rhodes, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences | News | Comments

According to recent research at Duke University, performing a physical activity while using eyewear that simulates a strobe-like experience has been found to increase visual short-term memory retention, and the effects lasted 24 hours. Stroboscopic training like this tended to boost the ability of the brain to keep information alive for short-lived periods.

Protein study brings muscle movement into sharper focus

July 23, 2012 6:58 am | News | Comments

Muscle contractions are controlled by the interplay between myosin and actin filaments and two other proteins, tropomyosin and troponin, which regulate how myosin binds to actin. Theoretical models have described exactly how these muscle proteins interact, but until now it has never been observed in detail. Researchers managed to image the actin-myosin-tropomyosin complex with an unprecedented accuracy of 0.8 nm.

Genomic sequencing method offers “smarter” cell analysis

July 23, 2012 5:10 am | News | Comments

Recent research shows for the first time that a new genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. The method builds on knowledge of splicing, in which it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy.

Artificial jellyfish swims in a heartbeat

July 23, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Using recent advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology have turned inanimate silicone and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."

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